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DIRECT application of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to the cut end of axotomized immature motor neurones had only transient survival-promoting effects. Therefore, we have examined whether additional delivery of BDNF with repeated subcutaneous injections (1 mg/ml) could potentiate this short-term rescue of the lesioned sciatic and facial motor neurones in neonatal rats. Direct application of BDNF combined with intermittent (3-day intervals) injections slightly improved motor neurone survival. However, when BDNF was injected daily in addition to the direct application, the number of surviving lesioned motor neurones was markedly reduced. These findings, corroborated by results in embryonic spinal cord cultures, show that a dose-dependent reversal of BDNF-mediated positive effects on motor neurones occurs in vivo.

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